A Change in Plans: A Lesson in Obedience

Photo courtesy of Rawich

You may have noticed you’re getting this blog post a little early. There was a change in plans.

It all started when I spent two days last week, setting up a new work schedule for the days I’m home. With my tendency to be unorganized and unfocused, I could see that I needed a plan in order to help me stay on top of the many projects currently going on.

So with this being the beginning of a new year, last week I studied my projects and the time they were going to require. I figured out a system to try to cover each project with a sufficient amount of time each week. I rewrote the schedule and refigured and rewrote it again. Yesterday it was ready. I copied it out and put it right out front where I could see it. I couldn’t wait for Monday morning so I could get started!

Then my schedule got thrown out the window. I got an email from our own Eddie Snipes stating there was a problem with my blog Home Page. A quick check revealed that–of course–it wasn’t anything I could take care of. On top of that, my webmaster was out of the country. But even though he was out of the country, my wonderful webmaster came through with a solution: post my blog early and that should take care of it. (I hope it works. We’ll find out as soon as I post this!)

So my best laid plans for part of Monday was out the window and instead of receiving this Tuesday morning, I guess you’ll get it about midnight on Monday.

It’s not a big deal. It really isn’t. But what I want us to see is that even though I had a really good plan, a well thought-out, all-for-a-good-reason plan…I was stopped from working it.

Paul had a good plan, too. And his plan WAS a big deal. According to Acts 16, Silas, Timothy, and Paul were planning to head into Asia, but verse 6b says they had “…been kept by the Holy Spirit [emphasis mine] from preaching the Word in the province of Asia.”

Then, verse 7 says, “When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to [emphasis mine].” It’s clear from God’s Word that Paul and his team had prepared well and were prayed up. After all, they were carrying the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles, to those who were not Jews, God’s chosen people.

But the Holy Spirit stopped them. And not once, but twice. It was a huge change in plans.

That night Paul had a vision of a man telling him they were needed in Macedonia. Some scholars say this was Paul’s second encounter with Jesus, the first being his encounter on the road to Damascus. Others think it was merely a dream, but either way, Paul went, the Gospel came west to Europe, Lydia was baptized, and Christianity eventually arrived in America.

All because of a change of plans. And it was good.

So with the dawn of 2012, as we’re setting our goals and making our resolutions, let’s not forget that God may have a different plan. Yes, we can organize, we can figure and refigure the best route to get wherever it is we feel God wants us to go–and we should! But the truth is, God may change our plans.

And if He does, it will be good.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

(Photo courtesy of Rawich)


Who Wins the THREE Dianne Neal Matthews Books?

Winner #1: Susan Panzica
Winner #2: Vanessa
Winner #3: Lynn Nester

Congratulations, winners! Just Contact Me with your mailing address and you’ll hear from Dianne with directions.

Thanks again, Dianne, for a wonderful, informative interview…and for your most generous offer of THREE books! I pray God continues to bless you and all your projects!


I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,


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  • I use to beat myself up with all kinds of self-deprecating thoughts about “my tendency to be unorganized and unfocused,” until I realized that this was just another area that I needed to submit to God on a daily basis.

    A former pastor once asked, “Are you are at a place where you know if God doesn’t come through, you’re not going to make it? If so, you are right where He wants you to be–totally dependent upon Him!”

    That seems to be the place that I find myself on a daily basis on my writing journey. So, I guess that’s right where God wants me. Right? Thanks for the reminder!!!

    • Thanks for your input. From one Messie to another: Yes, I know the feeling! πŸ™‚

  • Lynn N

    Amazing how out of kilter things get when we plan but I’m reminded that I get even less done when I don’t.

  • Karen Nolan Bell

    Thanks. I needed this reminder that a change in plans is not a failure but a plan from God. I avoid resolutions because of that failure factor. I even wrote about it on my blog today. However, sometimes we avoid a plan merely because we don’t want to fail and miss out on the times when it would have fulfilled God’s plan and led us to a God-blessed accomplishment.

  • My plan for the new year is to be better about planning, but with kids home from college I’m having to squeeze in my writing wherever & whenever I can!

    Talking about plans, as I read your post, this kept rolling through my mind:
    Know how to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans πŸ˜‰

  • Well, it looks like this post resonated with many of us! The bottom line is, to walk this journey in His Great name, we’ll study, plan, set goals…and then see what God does. πŸ™‚

  • Ellen Andersen

    How true Vonda. I like to know how things will go, and when God has other ideas in mind, it can throw me. But it always turns out for the best, even though I can only see it in hindsight.

  • Elaine Carr

    This ole 78 year old needed your devotional thought for the entire month of January!
    Elaine Carr

  • Loved your thoughts–instead of getting exasperated at the first obstacle in the road–you saw a life-lesson. Blessings, Poppy Smith

  • Judy Parker

    Thanks so much for this Vonda. Since shoulder surgery six weeks ago, my plans have been buried and I’ve done nothing. This change certainly hasn’t seemed “good” to me, but I’m learning God has a purpose in everything. Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

  • Thank y’all for your encouraging comments! What a great way to start my “Email” time slot at 11:30! Do you know how hard it is for me to not check email the second I’m out of bed?

    That had been my former routine, but my new schedule only allows me to check for urgent emails for 10 minutes at 9:30–AFTER Bible study, exercise, breakfast, dressing, and doing one housekeeping chore. Then the schedule says I can really work on emails for a while at 11:30. I can’t believe how hard–and how freeing–that has been!

    I pray for each of you as you do the work He has called each of you to do…on the timetable He has for you to do it!

    Have a blessed day!

    • Such a good post, Vonda. He speaks in a still small voice – but it is strong and clear if we will just listen.

      I really like your schedule. I am revolting against my old schedules (or lack thereof), too. I am looking forward to what the Lord is going to bring about !

  • Ha ha! I have a refrigerator magnet a friend gave me. It reads “People plan. God laughs. Just wing it!” Ain’t it the truth! And I’m trying to be a professional organizer! Ha ha ha…

  • Marcia Gaddis

    Thank you for your sound, honest teaching.This morning a circuit breaker blew and the furnace quit at 20 degrees in Atlanta. So much for my quiet time for writing. Building in time for maintenance, whether it be household or website, is part of our schedule and a great lesson in obedience. Looking forward to a year of it together.

  • Julie Garmon

    Such a good reminder, Vonda. God holds our plans and schedules in the palm of His Hand. Another lesson for me in letting go. πŸ™‚

  • Ckknefely

    Letting the Lord lead is my daily motto. I may have a check list of things to do each morning; but, I’ve learned to give Him the list and praise Him for what gets done before I even begin.
    Today is a new day…enjoy.

  • Cathy Baker

    Vonda, you have no idea how much I needed this today…and I do mean today. I too had a schedule laid out for the new year — Monday morning couldn’t come soon enough. That is, until Sunday night. A sick hubby changed my Monday (and now Tuesday) schedule. Need I say more? ha!

  • Johnnastein

    Made our yearly family goals last night with this scripture in mind, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

  • Fossnancy

    hey Vonda. I Think too many of us don’t even take time to plan in the first place. It’s during the planning stage we should be seeking what God would have us do. We let time just go by doing our own thing and miss out on joining God in His work. Thanks for the reminder to start with a plan
    and thenbe willing for God to either work it or change it.

  • Verna

    Thank you, Vonda . . . this is freeing and securing! So needed your encouragement!
    Lots of love, Verna

  • Glendafm

    Isn`t it good to know that even when we make our plans God is the One who directs our steps. The steps of a good man or woman are ordered by the LORD. Thanks for sharing.

  • Happy New Year, Vonda!! Thanks for the reminder to hold loosely to our plans…and to allow the Lord to determine our steps. Praying God’s richest of blessings for you this year!!! Love and hugs!

  • So important to hold our plans loosely. Great — and timely — reminder, Vonda!

    • Thanks, Cheryl! I see you found the post early! πŸ™‚